We have all received those irritating beep sounds that have been filling our phones since the launch of the iPhone 10 years ago. But have you ever wondered who turned off your’phones’ mute button?
Thanks to people on Twitter, we now know.
Apple’s official subreddit discussion group welcomed its first Ask Apple thread this month. As an added bonus, some Redditors fed the thread with user-submitted questions, including “Who fixed the button that would not stop beeping?” Apple’s conversation platform IMDb also chimed in with a clue.
Beep for Support
The answer? OK no, who fixed the button that would not stop beeping? Apple spokesperson Stacy Drake told Fast Company in response to a query from a user, “We do not have an answer to this question.”
Of course, if you have an iPhone, you already know about the NSFW internet conspiracy theory that Donald Trump’s touch can activate mute (aka “Donald Trump push-button technology”).
Since the late 1990s, the reset button on Apple’s phones and tablets has been used to trigger a security feature that hides conversations from anyone who’s under the age of 16. The feature, called Siri, listens to your conversation, then cancels it, ensuring that your conversation doesn’t affect the overall security of your iPhone. When the mute button was first introduced by Apple, a control center icon was placed on the bottom left-hand corner of the iPhone screen. If a user needed to temporarily silence a conversation, they simply pressed the security-sensitive Siri button to end the conversation without hearing it.
Apple’s mute button change and data breach
The muted conversation feature — the red reset button — was removed from iPhones in the 1990s. But the lock and unlock feature has now been switched to an invisible fingerprint recognition feature, giving Apple full control over the privacy of user conversations.
Also in 2008, then-CEO Steve Jobs announced that Siri — built by Apple in 2008 — would be used on iPhones. In 2011, more details were revealed about what Siri could do: complete a search query by asking Siri to “do this” or do that. A year later, Siri’s capabilities added further personalization: the ability to understand gender, age, and favorite books. And in 2013, people began experiencing negative feedback from Siri. A Buzzfeed report reported that Siri responded to vocal commands based on a user’s personal preferences, such as turning a phone off when the user was busy or playing music when the user woke up.
Beep with iPhone Troubles
Apple has also been dealing with other problems on its phones. In 2017, several users began experiencing issues with their phones after trying to setup Siri in Apple’s Settings app. In May, Apple addressed some of the problems users are experiencing.
The issue arises because sometimes people connect their devices to the internet by plugging them into a USB port on a computer. Once connected, users automatically have access to all of their apps on the device, including Siri. But while most people have to do nothing, it can take up to 15 seconds for Siri to learn a user’s voice. This will be troubling because even though we communicate to Siri by typing or by using several gestures on the touch screen, Siri is not capable of understanding some of the language we use.
Read more: This Is What Happens When iPhone Users Plug Their Devices Into a Computer
Apple has also addressed a recent data breach on their iMessage service. It was discovered in February 2018 that phones using Apple’s iOS 11 operating system had their messages — and entire contacts — stolen by two people. And not long after the data breach, news broke that half of Apple’s device users had their information stolen.
There is no word yet on whether the mute button issue will be addressed in iOS 12.